The Innsbruck and Tyrol Region bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games presented updated plans Monday that are designed to set the stage for an Olympic roadshow to sell the project domestically ahead of a scheduled October 15 general referendum.
Following the example set by Los Angeles in the U.S. city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games, Innsbruck will use only existing or temporary venues in order to reduce construction risks, keep costs low and eliminate white elephant legacies. The Austrian bid has gone as far as proposing the Inzell speed skating oval in Germany to host an event, rather then constructing a new facility.
A study completed earlier this year revealed that a “sustainable, ecologically and financially feasible Games are possible” in the region and officials have said that the project will only move forward if it will provide direct benefits for the population.
Innsbruck 2026 officials say the bid offers a 10-point program, the first point focusing on returning the Olympic Games to Europe. On Tuesday, the Tyrolean State Government is expected to approve a referendum question that asks voters whether the Tyrol region should submit an Olympic bid that is sustainable and “economically and ecologically justifiable.”
Tyrol Sports Councilor Josef Geisler said “Sport must be clearly in the foreground again – in a sustainable and ecologically sound framework. This is exactly what the Innsbruck / Tirol offer is. Now it is about bringing these basic thoughts to the Tyrolean Tyrolese.
“That is why we will organize an Olympic roadshow through all the districts, as well as in Innsbruck, in the next few weeks to inform the population about our self-assured Innsbruck / Tirol offer.”
The Olympic Village and Ceremonies along with with several key events including Bobsleigh, Luge, Skeleton, Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Dancing, Short Track and Ski Jumping are to be staged in Innsbruck.
Other events will be held in Kühtai, Seefeld, St. Anton am Arlberg and Inzell in Germany. Two recent bids by Germany – Munich for the 2022 Winter Games and Hamburg for the 2024 Summer Games – were rejected in referendums.
Innsbruck 2026 10-point Offer
1. Back to the cradle of the winter sports
2. Rediscovery of scale
3. Balanced budget and control
4. Added value for the entire land of Tyrol
5. New living space for the population
6. Control of price levels
7. Use of established venues
8. Safety as a central topic
9. Environmental sustainability and mobility
10. Olympic Games in Tyrol as a common message
Tyrol Governor Günther Platter said “The Innsbruck / Tirol offer means: Our Games, according to our rules. No gigantism, no new sports facilities, but a real added value for the whole country. And in light of the prerequisites, we must be clear: we have a unique opportunity here!”
At [Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games], a trend reversal was launched, a financial surplus was generated and, for example, the value of housing created a sustainable value for the population,” Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer said.
“Olympics are an engine – a decade would be under development – generational, cross-cutting, and lasting. There are Games for the next generation.”
Innsbruck already hosted in 1964 and 1976, and could become the first three-time host of the Olympic Winter Games. The city also hosted the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012.
Sion in Switzerland is the only officially declared bidder for the 2026 Games and is expected to face a referendum late in 2018. Davos in Switzerland rejected a bid for the 2022 Games through a referendum.
Calgary, the other city seriously considering a bid for the Games, has yet to receive approval from the City Council despite conducting a feasibility study that suggested the city’s second Games could be successful. Councillors are expected to debate the issue further at a September 11 meeting.
Runner-up in the 2022 race Almaty in Kazakhstan, previous Games host Sapporo in Japan and Erzurum in Turkey have also expressed interest in bidding.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will launch the 2026 bid process early in 2018 and begin accepting applications late in the year. The winning city will be elected in 2019.